Something that goes underappreciated when amateur golfers watch pros on television is how much higher they hit the golf ball. Pros launch their ball seemingly into the stratosphere—the average apex on tour hovers around 100 feet.
Amateur golfers, by contrast, often struggle to hit their drives north of 60 feet high. A large part of that is because they don’t swing the club as fast, but it’s also because so many amateurs lack the proper technique. That costs them carry distance and creates accuracy issues along the way. Low and crooked generally isn’t the best combination.
Which is why I enjoyed this Facts of Impact video series from Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher Michael Breed. In it, Breed provides some simple thoughts that golfers can apply pretty quickly for their next round, and enjoy the benefits of higher drives.
First, Understand Impact
A neat visual that Breed provides before we get into the tips is a simple drawing of a golf ball, marked with a cross down each axis and a dot in the middle. The ideal impact location—the literal point where the clubface hits the golf ball—should feel like it’s just below the middle of the golf ball. You can only do that by hitting slightly up on the golf ball, which Breed explains is essential for higher, longer drives.
“The reason why is because we’re trying to take some backspin out of the golf ball,” he says. “You want that ball to launch really high but not have too much backspin to it, so when it gets on the ground, it rolls all the way out.”
This will help optimize your driver numbers (more on that here). As for how you do that? Glad you asked!
1. Tilt Upper Body Away
As Breed explains, the goal ultimately is to hit up on the golf ball. This is unique to your driver, and possible only because the ball is teed up. And it’s because of these differences that Breed says golfers must take the essential step of tilting their upper body away from the target.
“When I [tilt away] with my shoulders the upper part of my spine tilts back. And when I do that, all of a sudden I’m going to hit up on the golf ball,” he says. “Now, by launching up into the air … it’s jumping up into the air exactly the way I want, just by changing my shoulder line.”
2. Push Your Trail Shoulder Back
Hitting up on the ball, Breed explains, is only possible when the lowest point of your swing is behind the golf ball. Tilting your shoulders is the first step, but that tilt also sets the stage for a second, powerful move: feeling like you’re pushing your trail shoulder back behind the ball.
“Push that trail shoulder back so you feel like your trail shoulder is behind your head,” he says. “That’s going to give you some speed, but more importantly, it’s going to get that low point is going to get earlier, and it’s going to fire the club up into the air.”
The combination of both these things will help shift your swing path around so you’re hitting the ball higher and with less backspin. An essential combination for longer, and higher, drives.
How To Do Everything in Golf:
Driver setup basics
High chip formula
Backswing turn tips
Bunker shot guide
Swing sequence secrets
No-fail low chip shot
Driver draw recipe
Power fade formula
Check your grip
Chip off downslopes
Read grain on greens
- Aim properly
This article was originally published on golfdigest.com